Move On.

I had my own “Robert Green Cringe-Worthy-Moment” during my junior year of high school football. In the biggest game of the year, in front of packed stands, against our cross-town rivals, I managed to drop a touchdown pass while all alone in the endzone – went right through my hands. Worst. Drop. Ever.

After the game, I’m pretty sure I blamed the stadium lights for the dropped ball.

Lame.

Robert Green’s cringe-worthy moment came last Saturday against the United States – as he let a shot on goal bounce off his hands and into the goal.

And yet, even with a handy, pre-packaged excuse such as the ball controversy of this World Cup, Robert Green wasn’t having any of it afterwards:

“It is regrettable and not what you want to happen but that’s life and you move on. You hold your head up high and get to work in training. It won’t affect me psychologically. I’m 30, I’m a man, and you have hardships in life and prepare for them.”

Damn straight. There’s something to be learned here about performing, messing up, picking yourself up, and in Green’s words – moving on. “Flush it” has become almost cliché in sport – but just how does an athlete let-go of that really bad performance? I think it involves three steps:

Accept Responsibility. Our ability to effectively respond (or our “response-ability”) starts with taking ownership of our play on any given day. Of course, this is easy to do on great days – a little harder to do when we drop a sure touchdown pass in the endzone. Taking responsibility gives players a clearer perspective from which to decide if there’s something to learn from a bad performance.

Even a shitty mistake can be fertilizer. Sometimes mistakes and bad games happen. But most times – there’s also something to glean from the experience. The best athletes are willing to go back over the experience (even embarrassing mistakes) – just to see if there’s something to learn from it.

Choose a time or action that signifies “moving on”. An athlete once told me their routine after a bad game was to take a 10-minute shower: “I could feel bad for myself when I stepped into the shower,” she told me, “but after 10 minutes – the bad game goes down the drain with the water.” I get it – a nice metaphor. But the real lesson here is to have some concrete action that switches one’s focus from the past performance to the next performance.

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